Security Suites: Big Protection, Little Fuss

Trend Micro Internet Security Pro

As one of the more expensive suites on the market, Trend Micro Internet Security Pro has to meet some high expectations.

And in many ways it does: Trend Micro Internet Security Pro is one of the most comprehensive Internet security suites available. It features full protection, including antivirus, antispyware and antispam tools, a firewall, parental controls and rootkit detection capability. What's more, Trend Micro throws in a behavioral engine, which improves protection, and a security toolbar for use with your browser.

Internet protection

Trend Micro offers all of the expected capabilities, including antimalware and antispam tools, a firewall and other security features. One unusual addition is Trend Micro's Wi-Fi Advisor, which checks wireless networks for security problems. Also included is a gaming mode, which opens ports in the firewall for access to Internet games, while still retaining its antivirus and antimalware capabilities. That allows users to play games over the Internet without fear of getting viruses or spyware. There are also device access controls that prevent unauthorized USB devices from being used on a PC.

The firewall is simple to deploy. Neophytes can just choose a setting that fits their environment; options include Home Network, Office Network, Direct Connection or Wireless Connection. These all change the firewall rules to different levels and settings depending on the danger associated with each type of connection.

The product's content-filtering parental controls offer predefined settings for teens, pre-teens and adults; each of the predefined settings can be customized further for users who need to limit or allow access to more sites based upon the profile in use.

Trend Micro offers an integrated browser toolbar that makes searches simpler and offers advice when visiting new Web sites, such as whether or not the site is safe or has any security problems.

The product's spam filtering capability works with incoming POP3 e-mail and integrates with Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express. As with other product functions, spam filtering is based upon a simple choice of how aggressive you want the antispam component to be. You can set the filtering level to high, medium or low. The high setting will eliminate the most spam but might also block legitimate e-mail, while the low setting might let some spam get through. You can further fine-tune the spam filtering by using a whitelist or a blacklist.

Usability

Trend Micro Internet Security Pro has one of the cleanest installation processes; installation was a breeze and did not require a reboot of the PC. The installer also seeks out previously installed antivirus products and can automatically remove them, which helps to prevent conflicts between incompatible applications.

Product specs

Trend Micro Internet Security Pro

Company: Trend Micro Inc.

Price: $69.95 for up to three PCs (includes one year of updates and support)

Operating systems: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4 or later, iOS 2.1 or later, Symbian S60, Windows Mobile 5.0 or later, netbook version

The application tries to keep things as simple as possible and offers a great deal of guidance. Trend Micro is also "state aware," so if you're running a presentation, watching a movie, playing a game or doing some other activity where security warnings and pop-ups are not desired, the product will suppress warnings to prevent interruptions.

Operationally, I found the product offered adequate performance, memory usage was low and the product had little impact on processor utilization, less than 5% in most cases. However, manual scans did tend to be more processor-intensive and did put a noticeable dent in overall system performance; they would frequently peak at 90% processor utilization for very short periods of time -- never more than two seconds. This suggests that the application might not be appropriate for lower-powered systems such as netbooks.

Coming soon

Trend Micro hasn't publicly announced what is planned for the next version of its product, and no public beta is available. That said, development and testing is going on behind the scenes for the next version of Internet Security Pro, according to company sources.

Conclusion

Trend Micro has an interesting and useful product. The Wi-Fi adviser can be a handy feature for people who work in unsecured locations such as Internet cafes, and the ability to control device access such as USB connectivity is a good feature to prevent unauthorized individuals from copying information from an unattended PC.

However, I was not impressed with its performance during manual scans, and would think twice before using it on less powerful notebooks or netbooks.

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